Knit One, Compute One

A presentation at Voxxed Days Melbourne in in Melbourne VIC, Australia by Kristine Howard

Can a programming language describe art? Is knitting Turing complete? And just how many bytes of data does the average knitted scarf hold, anyway?

Knitting is inherently binary, so you can use sticks and string to encode data in many ways – like recording the day’s weather, noting enemy troop movements, or even knitting a computer virus. But that’s just the start! A knitter becomes a human CPU, utilising data structures and free memory to implement instructions. Patterns themselves are very similar to computer languages, with new syntax proposals emerging with innovative constructs and even compilers.

If you thought knitting was just an old-fashioned hobby for grandmas, this talk will open your eyes to the many ways this traditional craft is still relevant in the digital age. (And no, you don’t need to know how to knit.)


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